Politics at the dinner table
Some people still observe that old rule about not talking politics or religion at the dinner table.
At least a few of them are readers of this blog, who gave me the equivalent of the spousal kick under the table this morning when I dragged a bunch of unsuspecting mayors into the conversation here at Dining@Large.
You can't really argue with the rule, especially if you don't want to argue at the table.
But I can’t say that I observe it. Except at family gatherings with one particular brother-in-law, who on Christmas 2001 remarked at the table that all Muslims and Jews were going to hell.
I begged to differ. Then, as the “discussion” went on, I shrieked to differ: “Anne Frank went to hell?!!”
Everyone else at the table stayed mum, even the NPR-listening, Sierra Club-belonging, liberal-to-the-core secular humanists in attendance. They piped up only with a few vain attempts to steer the conversation toward how particularly good the gravy and dressing were.
The two of us went at it all through dinner, dessert and dish-washing. No china was broken. Credit the season of miracles for that much.
At the urging of our respective spouses, we’ve both tried, mostly successfully, to hold our tongues at subsequent family gatherings.
That Easter, when my brother-in-law spoke approvingly of Augusta National Golf Club’s exclusion of women, I responded, “Ha, ha, ha. I have a different view.”
My tone was gay, breezy and — OK, a little sarcastic. But just a little. No fur flew.
So I understand the value of keeping the dinner conversation light.
But a blog, even one about Christmas dinner, is not Christmas dinner. It’s a place for spirited conversation.
And if we disagree sometimes about who serves the best crab cake, how much we should tip or whether politics belongs in a restaurant blog, at least the family peace is not at stake.
To anybody out there who thinks the blog should never stir the pot, I say, “Ha, ha, ha. I have a different view.”
(Associated Press photo)